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Heart of Country
Hay Hillston Griffith Leeton Narrandera
Griffith and Surrounds

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Fast facts

  • Located on the banks of the Murrumbidgee River and surrounded by the vast grasslands of One Tree Plain
  • Fine heritage buildings and a diverse collection of museums 
  • 735 km south-west of Sydney, population 3,500

Why go there

Hay is a busy, character-filled town with plenty of history captured in its engaging and fascinating museums.

The Lands Office was built in 1896 and is an early example of a government building designed specifically for the harsh outback environment.

There’s a large beef industry and a number of world-famous sheep studs in Hay. The town really buzzes with activity during the sheep sales and local events. 


The town of Hay was established in 1859 and named after pastoralist and politician Sir John Hay. In 1877 Cobb & Co started a coach factory here.

The area has produced some of the best medium merino wool in Australia. During World War II, internment and POW camps were set up in the town for Italian and Japanese prisoners.

Things to do

  • Enjoy fishing, canoeing, camping and birdwatching on the Murrumbidgee – a watery haven for activity all year round.
  • Take a heritage walk around town and view the buildings that give the town its gracious air.
  • Take a drive out to the small village of Booligal, 80 km north of Hay, made famous in a poem by Banjo Paterson.
  • Visit one of Hay's museums and learn about pastoralists, prisoners of war, shearers and bishops. 
  • Stretch your legs on a bushwalk in one of the riverside nature reserves.


  • Autumn Sheep Racing Carnival at Booligal in April. 
  • Hay Jockey Club Races , in November, is a genuine country horse-racing meet.
  • Hay Lions Football Fishing Competition, in January, is a great weekend. 

Don’t miss

  • Sunset behind the vast Hay plain. And on a clear night, this is the perfect place to star-gaze.
  • Shear Outback for tall tales and true about the Australian shearing industry.
  • The grand Bishop's Lodge historic house and garden.
  • The Long Paddock touring route, with a stopover at The Royal Mail Hotel, Booroorban. 
  • Learning about the chequered history of the Hay Gaol, built in 1878.
  • A visit to the memorial for refugees and POWs. Learn more about the subject at the Interpretive Centre at the old railway station.


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To: Hay   
  • Hay's historic railway station

    Hay's historic railway station

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